SANBio & Seeding Labs: Pandemic Lab Safety Challenge

Laboratory staff are used to working in an environment where samples are infectious – but the COVID-19 pandemic presents an extra challenge in an environment where colleagues may be asymptomatic carriers of respiratory disease. Often the work performed in labs is critical to the health of our communities – whether directly processing diagnostics for disease, or training the next generation of students to become medical professionals and researchers.

Returning to the lab requires solutions to new challenges – such as protocols for safely disinfecting and sharing equipment, to the separation of physical spaces and people. For labs unfamiliar with working with infectious diseases and microbial pathogens, known sterile environment techniques and low-cost solutions need to be shared as well.

Has your lab implemented low-cost solutions? Do you have sterile techniques to share?

The Pandemic Lab Safety Challenge is designed to solicit videos that share solutions for lab safety in a time of COVID-19 that can be adopted by scientists in labs with limited resources, no matter where they might be.

Technological solutions for everyday challenges can also be developed with a bit of ingenuity, even when the resources available are not always cutting edge. Join a global community of creative problem solvers and put your creativity to test with real challenges.

The challenge

Show us how you practice a safe working environment in the current COVID-19 times when working in your lab or working with laboratory equipment and medical devices at your university/college.
What can you share?

Anything that promotes methods for lab workers to return safely to the lab! Some suggestions include, but are not limited to:

• Demonstration of sterile techniques – such as how to put on and remove gloves, masks, and other PPE
• Educational information on choosing the correct PPE, such as what types of materials to use for masks, gloves, coats, goggles, etc.
• Demonstration of how to sanitize specific instruments and/or what chemicals are safe to use for sanitation and equipment integrity (i.e., will not damage the equipment).
• Procedures added to the lab such as entry and exit protocols, introduction of shifts, and other tools and systems to support physical distancing.
• Ways to safely conserve the use of PPE and other materials. For example, ways to disinfect masks, lab coats, and other reusable PPE.
• Innovations can be ones that have been developed by you OR you can demonstrate techniques that are already established as written protocols but would benefit from being shared more widely in video format. Our goal is to bring together all knowledge, whether new or existing, that supports a safe laboratory working environment.

Why participate

You can help spread your knowledge across the global scientific community. You will show off your method and, get feedback from other academics and industry sponsors. All participants whose applications pass the safety review will receive a Challenge participation certificate.

Seeding Labs will host the best videos on its TeleScience website. The Grand Winner team will receive a free laboratory safety training from the Laboratory Safety Institute, as well as free automated edits of a scientific text from American Journal Experts.’ Up to four honorable mention teams, drawn from the SANBio network, will also win hamper goodie bags.

Who is invited?

The SANBio & Seeding Labs Pandemic Lab Safety challenge is open to undergraduate, graduate, and academics across the globe who are learning or working in a lab.
Applicants are expected to form and apply for the challenge as teams of 1-4 people. Team members do not need to be from the same country or institutions.

For enquiries, please contact us at

Application instructions

Form your team and ensure you have all the necessary information from all your team members before completing this application; the application needs to be filled in one go – unfinished applications do not save automatically and cannot be returned.
On the first page, fill in the information of the team leader, who will also be the main contact point between the team and the event organizers. On the following pages, fill in the same information of the other team members.
On the final page, fill in information about the solution you intend to create. The more detailed the information on the solution is, the more likely your team will be chosen to participate. If you do not have a detailed plan yet, do not have a detailed plan yet, and do not be deterred but simply fill in what you can – your application will still be considered.
After the application period has closed and the teams have been selected, the participating teams will be requested to develop and submit a more detailed plan, prior to the event.

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